Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winds of Malevolence in the Libyan Desert

1. Al Khanjar

The hot breath of this wind of abomination betrays its pacific origins. Known for its slow-moving progress as the “Wind of 40 Days,” it first appears on the horizon as a thin blue-black line which slowly broadens and extends its smoky arms. In the following days the sky is gradually covered with an immense, copper-tinted veil, studded with black spots resembling clouds of locusts and grasshoppers.

Desert people also refer to this wind also as the “Breath of the Infidel,” and in former times it is recorded that the Bedouin rushed from their tents brandishing knives, beating gongs and snapping cords of rope with magical knots to do battle with the accursed intruder. For alone among the winds of the Libyan desert, Al Khanjar—The Knife—is hot and moist at once, a poisonous wind that taints the air and all it embraces. In its evil breath old wounds and scars re-open and begin to suppurate. It scalds the skin, cracks lips open and causes instant bleeding from the nose. Bowel complaints and bladder problems follow almost inevitably; infarctions and ulcerous perforations are common.

All who encounter Al Khanjar are rendered pale and sickly. Most are overwhelmed with fatigue and apathy, and an urge for immediate self-destruction is rapidly generated. A dark melancholy spreads across the entire population, now inclined toward desperate decisions.

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